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Scheel, Silvio K.; Porzner, Marc; Pfeiffer, Sabine; Ormanns, Steffen; Kirchner, Thomas; Jung, Andreas: Mutations in the WTX - gene are found in some high-grade microsatellite instable (MSI-H) colorectal cancers. In: BMC Cancer 2010, 10:413




Background: Genetically, colorectal cancers (CRCs) can be subdivided into tumors with chromosomal instability (CIN) or microsatellite instability (MSI). In both types of CRCs genes that are involved in the degradation of beta-CATENIN are frequently mutated. Whereas in CIN CRCs APC (Adenomatous Polyposis Coli) is affected in most cases, high grade MSI (MSI-H) CRCs frequently display mutations in various genes, like the APC-, AXIN2- or CTNNBI (beta-CATENIN) gene itself. Recently in Wilms tumors, WTX (Wilms tumor gene on the X-chromosome) was discovered as another gene involved in the destruction of beta-CATENIN. As the WTX-gene harbors a short T(6)-microsatellite in its N-terminal coding region, we hypothesized that frameshift-mutations might occur in MSI-H CRCs in the WTX gene, thus additionally contributing to the stabilization of beta-CATENIN in human CRCs. Methods: DNA was extracted from 632 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded metastatic CRCs (UICCIV) and analyzed for MSI-H by investigating the stability of the highly sensitive microsatellite markers BAT25 and BAT26 applying fluorescence capillary electrophoresis (FCE). Then, in the MSI-H cases, well described mutational hot spot regions from the APC-, AXIN2- and CTNNBI genes were analyzed for genomic alterations by didesoxy-sequencing while the WTX T(6)-microsatellite was analyzed by fragment analysis. Additionally, the PCR products of T(5)-repeats were subcloned and mutations were validated using didesoxy-sequencing. Furthermore, the KRAS and the BRAF proto-oncogenes were analyzed for the most common activating mutations applying pyro-sequencing. mRNA expression of WTX from MSI-H and MSS cases and a panel of colorectal cancer cell lines was investigated using reverse transcription (RT-) PCR and FCE. Results: In our cohort of 632 metastatic CRCs (UICCIV) we identified 41 MSI-H cases (6.5%). Two of the 41 MSI-H cases (4.8%) displayed a frameshift mutation in the T(6)-repeat resulting in a T(5) sequence. Only one case, a male patient, expressed the mutated WTX gene while being wild type for all other investigated genes. Conclusion: Mutations in the WTX-gene might compromise the function of the beta-CATENIN destruction complex in only a small fraction of MSI-H CRCs thus contributing to the process of carcinogenesis.